I’m reading through the Bible in a year. I’ve done it before and each time have found fascinating nuggets of truth, revelation and delight that I never noticed in my previous readings. I am in Exodus now. I know this part like the back of my hand, or so I thought. Today, the Lord opened my eyes to some beautiful, yet hard hitting truths about myself, about Him and maybe about you, too.
Beginning in Exodus 13:3, Moses tells the Israelites to remember this day that they left Egypt forever; the place of their cruel and unbearable slavery. Moses reminds them that this is the day the Lord brought them out of their bondage with His mighty hand. His. Not their mighty hands and strength in numbers, but His. There is no place for self-reliance and self-congratulation here. The Lord heard their cries, their groaning and weeping and He rescued them because He is all mighty, a Warrior and because He loved them and He chose them as His own. Their bondage and the cruelty inflicted upon them by their earthly masters reached the heart of Almighty God and He responded with amazing power, might and compassion for the Israelites. He answered their cries.
In Exodus 13:17, God does not lead His people toward the Promised Land by the easy, straightforward route taking them through Philistine territory, because He knew them. He knew they would be terrified, turn around and head back to Egypt, because it was familiar there. Despite the horrible oppression they suffered, they knew what to do there. This applies to us, too. He knows our fears and weaknesses. Sometimes, when He seems to leads us in odd, circuitous routes to get to our Promised Land, have we ever stopped to think that because He knows us so well and loves us so much that He leads us around a mountain that might just be too big and cause too much pain? That we are not ready for yet? That touched me and explains some paths that I’ve had to take that seemed to make no sense. I love how He speaks through His Word. It never returns void.
Verses 21 and 22 say “The Lord went ahead of them. He guided them during the day with a pillar of cloud, and he provided light at night with a pillar of fire. This allowed them to travel by day or by night. And the Lord did not remove the pillar of cloud or pillar of fire from its place in front of the people.” What a lovely reminder that we are never alone. He is our constant companion. He knows where we are going. That feels peaceful to me. Safe.
The people panicked when they saw the Egyptians had followed them. They cried. They were terrified. They had already forgotten the way the Lord had brought them out of Egypt. They forgot that He guided them and lead them with pillars of cloud and fire. I love how Moses tells them in Exodus 14:13, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” This verse means a lot to me, because there was a time when a trial, a wound, seemed too deep and too hard to overcome. It was blindsiding and overwhelming. I remember asking God to show me something, to please tell me what to do. I found this verse immediately. I did what it said. I stood still and I watched Him rescue me from something that I didn’t understand. He fought for me, because He loves me. What are you facing that seems impossible? Do you trust God to fight for you? Can you wrap your mind about what that really means? God, the Almighty, the Prince of Peace, Creator, the King of ALL Kings wants to fight for you! He is telling you to just stay calm and watch Him. The Lord is our rear guard. He goes before us and leads us, but in times of battle, He is behind us, just like Exodus 14:19-20 shows us. “Then the angel of God, who had been leading the people of Israel, moved to the rear of the camp. The pillar of cloud also moved from the front and stood behind them. The cloud settled between the Egyptians and Israelite camps.” He leads us out of harm’s way, and then moves behind us to hem us in and guard us from what He just delivered us from. Protection. Safety.
The first half of Exodus 15 is a beautiful song of praise, acknowledgement and love to the Lord for His protection, guidance and compassion; recognizing that He is an unmatched and mighty Warrior who stops at nothing to defend and redeem His chosen ones. I am His chosen one. You are His chosen one. Do we dance, sing and worship out loud when He delivers and rescues us, sharing with others when our prayers and cries are heard? Are we like Miriam and the women of Israel who danced and sang this song to Him; “Sing to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously; He has hurled both horse and rider into the sea.” (v. 20, 21). This hit home. Am I raw and open and lavish with my praise and honor to Him for all He has done and is doing in my life? Do I give Him praise and thank Him for all the “horses and riders” in my life that He has hurled into the sea and battles He has won for me? Do you? Will you?
There is one last part from this first half of Exodus that causes me to examine myself. Exodus 16:4 “The Lord said to Moses, Look, I’m going to rain down food from Heaven for you. Each day the people can go out and pick up as much food as they need for that day. I will test them in this to see whether or not they will follow my instructions.” I read this over a few times and it blessed my heart. I believe He still does this for us today. God rains down food from Heaven, for us, every day. He gives enough for each day. Just enough. It might come in the form of physical provisions; such as food, shelter, water and clothing. It might come in the form of health and relationships. Maybe He gives me enough skill, ability and talent to get through whatever the day will bring me, because He already knows what that will be. He knows what I’m going to need and provides just enough. That spoke to me in a big way. Am I grateful, daily for what He is doing? Do I actively look to see what He is providing and how I need to use it? Do I spend time with Him saying thank you? Do I remember what He has done and what He has provided with a grateful heart or am I selfish and greedy like a giant gobbling mouth, demanding more, more, more and complaining relentlessly that what my Father has rained down from Heaven, for me, is not good enough? What do you do with the daily, loving provision your Father has given you? Food for thought….